National News

Cyber crime-fighters profit in a 'hacked economy'

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-12-09 12:51

More than two weeks have passed since hackers virtually paralyzed Sony Pictures and traumatized thousands of workers by dumping their personal information all over the Internet.

The data includes such sensitive information as Social Security numbers and salaries. Several of Sony's unreleased films were leaked following the hack attack. Cleaning up the mess could cost Sony hundreds of millions. But, as is almost always the case,  Sony's loss will be someone else's gain. An entire industry has sprung up around cyber crime as individuals and companies try to protect information. 

Gartner research analyst Avivah Litan says the companies profiting now are those that can quickly detect and contain breaches, rather than prevent them. Entire industries are spending widely to protect themselves. Julie Conroy, research director for Aite Group's retail banking group, says the hacking of tens of millions of credit cards from Target last year spurred the coming shift to the more-secure "chip."

Sasha Romanosky, who researches the economics of data security, says insurance companies are the big winners. Premiums for "cyberinsurance" have risen from next to nothing five years ago to an estimated $2 billion this year.

Nut Rumpus Prompts Korean Airline Exec To Apologize And Resign

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-09 12:17

Cho Hyun-ah, whose family runs Korean Air, forced a Korea-bound jet to return to a New York terminal so she could eject its cabin crew chief over the presentation of macadamia nuts.

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Supreme Court Rules Employers Are Not Required To Pay For Security Time

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-09 12:16

The decision is a major victory for retail enterprises and manufacturing businesses that could have been on the hook for billions of dollars in back pay for time spent in security screenings.

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5 Interrogation Methods The CIA Used On Terrorism Suspects

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-09 12:09

The Senate's report says CIA interrogators used methods such as rectal infusion and waterboarding on detainees. The report says the techniques were ineffective, a point the agency disputes.

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'Sons Of Anarchy' Ends As A Macho Soap Opera Often Anchored By Women

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-09 12:09

FX's biker drama Sons of Anarchy airs its final episode tonight, capping a seven-season run. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says cable's most macho series succeeded by finding strong roles for women.

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Venison As Benison: Food Banks Score From Deer Overpopulation

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-09 12:09

With the start of hunting season, wildlife managers are tackling the overabundance of deer in parks around the country. Some of that meat is being salvaged and processed to distribute to the hungry.

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'Torture Report': Did Harsh Interrogations Help Catch Osama Bin Laden?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-09 11:39

The Senate Intelligence Committee found that the detainee that provided key information did so before he was submitted to enhanced interrogation. The CIA questions that account.

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From Grading Tests To Mixing Beats

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-09 11:33

Monica Shah's middle school students in the nation's capital don't call her "Ms. Shah," but "DJ Shah."

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Resignation to signal end of a rocky era for Detroit

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-12-09 11:00

Detroit emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, is expected to resign at a press conference scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Orr is responsible for putting Detroit into – and getting it out of – the biggest municipal bankruptcy this country has ever seen.

After adjusting $18 billion worth of debt, Detroit will end this fiscal year in the black.

Who wins and loses as oil prices fall

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-12-09 11:00

As oil prices fall,the global economy has winners and losers. The losers include oil companies, and countries that rely on oil revenue. But the worst hit countries aren't necessarily the best-known or biggest producers. Trevor Houser, a partner at the Rhodium Group, has calculated the economic impact on every country if oil prices stay low. "It turns out the countries that are most vulnerable are oil producers we never hear about," Houser says. For instance, if oil prices stay low, the Republic of Congo will effectively see about 27 percent of its economy disappear.

The thinking behind the Fed's next move

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-12-09 11:00

Next week, Federal Reserve policymakers hold their last meeting of the calendar year, and many economists expect they may do something major.

Really major.

They may remove the two-word phrase, "considerable time," from the guidance they issue – the tea leaves economists and investors try to read to figure out what the policymakers are thinking.

Former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke first used the phrase “considerable time” in September 2012: “The committee emphasized that it expects a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy to remain appropriate for a considerable time after the economic recovery strengthens,” the language read that day, and in the 17 Fed statements since.

Two words may not sound important, but according to Dana Saporta, an economist with Credit Suisse, that first mention was a turning point. “It was a time in which the Fed was moving away from calendar-based forward guidance” – that is, tying policy changes to certain dates– “to thresholds”—that is, tying policy changes to inflation or unemployment.

Throughout the economic recovery, the Fed has been trying to telegraph something, says Guy Berger, U.S. economist at RBS Securities: “Our policy is dictated by how the economy is evolving.” And maybe, now that Fed has wrapped up its multi-trillion-dollar bond-buying program, the economy has evolved enough for it to signal to investors higher rates are coming soon.


Well, take last week’s employment report. In November, the U.S. economy added 321,000 new jobs, and wages ticked up 0.4 percent. “When they look at domestic economic indicators, almost all of them have improved,” says Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wells Fargo. But, he notes, there is a lot more on the Fed’s radar.

“The plunge in oil prices has caught a lot of folks by surprise,” Vitner points out. “Right now the rest of the world is a bit of a drag on the U.S. economy, and it presents some downside risk.”

He says Fed policymakers are keeping an eye on the economies of China and Germany, both of which have slowed down, and that could affect the economy here in the future.

Greek election move rattles investors

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-12-09 11:00

Greece’s Prime Minister Antonis Samaras spooked investors on Thursday. Greek lawmakers had been due to vote in a new president in February but Samaras moved the vote forward in an attempt to force parliament to back his candidate for the presidency and, in turn, his pro-austerity policies. It’s a big gamble: If Samaras loses that vote, it could trigger a general election, which he would likely lose. The victor – according to the opinion polls – could be the left-wing, anti-austerity Syriza party. That outcome would raise fears about Greece repaying its debts. And it could once again re-ignite a wider crisis of confidence in the euro.

A Case Of Mistaken Identity Sends Healthy Boy To An Ebola Ward

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-09 10:20

An ambulance in Sierra Leone is sent out to pick up a suspected patient. But after two wrong turns and several stops for directions, it arrives at the home of a 14-year-old boy with no signs of Ebola.

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Argentina: Where Cash Is King And Robberies Are On The Rise

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-09 10:19

With spiraling inflation and a distrust in banks after the country's 2001 default, Argentines are keeping more cash on hand. And that means robbery rates are spiraling, too.

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NFL Quarterback Cam Newton Taken To Hospital After Car Crash

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-09 09:48

The player's truck flipped several times on a bridge close to his team's stadium in downtown Charlotte. His injuries are reportedly not life-threatening.

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Wellness At Work Often Comes With Strings Attached

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-09 09:43

A group of CEOs wants the Obama administration to backtrack on efforts to regulate workplace wellness. The programs have ballooned in popularity, but there's little evidence they work.

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'Ebola Must Go' — And So Must Prejudice Against Survivors

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-09 09:28

Liberia has started a campaign to get communities more involved in stopping Ebola. But even in the town handpicked to launch the campaign, a family of survivors has been ostracized.

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Senate Panel's Report On CIA Calls Harsh Tactics Ineffective

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-09 08:27

Democrats on the Senate intelligence committee released a report saying the CIA misled higher-ups and didn't accurately describe its post-Sept. 11 interrogation tactics. The CIA disputes the findings.

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Obama: CIA's 'Harsh Methods' Inconsistent With Values, National Security

NPR News - Tue, 2014-12-09 07:34

Earlier, GOP Sens. Mitch McConnell and Saxby Chambliss said the release of the Senate's report on the CIA's interrogations practices "will present serious consequences for U.S. national security."

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